Network Monitor feature in Adobe Flash Builder 4 enables developers to analyze the networks calls made by Flex application to back end data servers. Network monitor helps developers to analyze the performance of network calls and debug application when the response from the server is retrieved. This feature does not record all the network calls made by Flash player. Network calls made by Flex application running on Flash player or using AIR runtime can be recorded in Network monitor. It does not support application created in pure ActionScript and for Library projects. Network monitor supports HTTP, SOAP and AMF protocols so it can record the network calls made using HTTP Service, Web Service, Remote Service, Data Service and Messaging Services. It also supports HTTPS network calls made out of Flex application.
Network monitor shows the necessary information required for the developer to debug his application making network calls by providing some of the very useful information such as URL, the type of service, Request time, Response Time, Elapsed time and the operation. Selecting the record will show the Request and Response data of the network call. The Request will contain the Request Header and Request body along with other information such as Request Status, ID, Parameters sent, header size and the body size. Response will contain the Response Header and the response body along with other information such as Response Status, ID, header size and the body size. Response body will also contain the type of data retried form the server. It could be XML, JSON or an AMF type of data.
Network monitor allows developer to switch between Tree View and the Raw View. Tree View shows the Request and Response body in a neat tree structure format. It will be easy for developers to view the data from sent or received where as in raw view, raw data transferred when request or response is made.
Network monitor also provides support to save the network monitor data locally in a XML format. Developer can view the saved data in any of the XML editors or using the browser. Developers can suspend the network monitor calls when ever they do not want to record network calls they can resume network calls when ever they want to monitor network calls.
Source code correlation in Network Monitor will take the developer to the location in the source code where exactly the network call has been made when double clicked on any of the network call.
Enable network monitor from Network Monitor tab in Flash Builder. This will compile Flex application with the necessary library file (netmon.swc) which is required for compiling the Network Monitor. Once the network monitor is enabled, network monitor status shows a message a enabled network monitor for the current project.
Run or Debug the application, when the application makes any of the network calls, Network Monitor will record the network calls. Observe that each network call will show some important information such as Status, URL, Request time, Response Time, Elapsed time and the operation are shown.
Click on the Network Monitor record, In the Request tab, request header, request header and body size and request body information is shown along with Status and Request ID. In the Response tab, response header, response header and body size and response body is shown along with response status. Also the type of data received is shown in the body. The type of data received can be of XML, JSON or AMF. Select Raw view to view the actual data sent or received.
Double click on the network record will take to the location where the network call has been made. This will help developer when the network call fails or if he has to fix the performance of this particular call, developer can easily navigate to the source code where exactly this call has been made and fix his code.